Monday, June 11, 2012

Forsaking God: Like a Postcard from Paris

Last November I did a short series on my "Holiday Theory," which goes to say that Satan seems to tempt us more when we are off-schedule, on-break, and relaxed.  Although I forgot to mention it in the previous post, the theory applies for Summer break as well.  We all seem to stumble a bit at the beginning of a break, and since it is June, I thought I would offer some encouragement on getting back up and "finishing the race." (2 Tim 4:7)

My inspiration?  A country song of course, The Band Perry's hit song, Postcard From Paris.  The song describes the story of a girl who meets a guy while hanging out with her boyfriend.  Because this guy happens to be "the real deal," she realizes that she is "ruined" from dating any other guy.  This "ruining" is caused by the true love she tasted, therefore everything else is just artificial--like a postcard from Paris when you've seen the real thing. 

As I have murmured the lyrics to myself over and over again, I have seemed to catch a greater glimpse of God's grace and the unfailing love he deserves from me.  As a human, I stumble and fall constantly.  Just when I think I have a firm grip on my spiritual life, I mess up--even though I have been warned of this pitfall (1 Cor 10:12.)  The interesting thing about falling is that the closer I walk with God, the more quickly my heart aches when I bring him dishonor.  I think this is because I realize that the sin-causing idols in my life are absolutely garbage compared to the loving relationship I have with my Father.

Before I walked with God I was miserable and I didn't know it.  Now that I walk with God I feel more misery from messing up than ever.  Why? Because I've tasted and I've seen fresh, pure love from the faucet of all love--therefore no idol, no man, no drink, no drug, no object, can ever begin to come close to the real thing.  It's all artificial sweetener.  

John talks about this type of relationship in his letter to the church of Ephesus in the book of Revelation:

"Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love."

It is interesting that John says this, because the beginning of the letter is full of gratitude and encouragement for how well the church has done.  "Yet," John says, "I hold this against you."  Why is forsaking your first love of Christ such a big deal?  Because the Bible says that God is love (1 John 4:8), and that the first and greatest commandment we are given is to love him with all of our hearts, minds, and strength (Matthew 22:37.)

When we stumble we turn our backs on God for some quick taste of artificial love; an unfulfilled gratification of our fleshly lust.  Fortunately, if you walk closely with God at all, you know that this taste of ignorance is disgusting compared to what you have been raised with.  This leaves your idols quickly looking like:

"... a postcard from Paris
when you've seen the real thing.
Like finding out your diamond
is from her old promise ring,
a call back from the fortune teller
she read your cards upside down...

The meanest thing you ever did was come around.
Now I am ruined."

How delightful it is to know that God has utterly and completely ruined us from enjoying any kind of fake love after having tasted and seen his goodness.  1 John 4:19 reminds us that "we love him because he first loved us."  That, in essence, is the most powerful love drug there is.  Don't forsake God for an will let you down every time and it's not worth it.